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How To Plan For A Home Addition

Posted by Alexa Lerner on Oct 12, 2022 10:00:00 AM

10 Steps To Follow When Increasing The Square Footage Of Your Home

Your family is outgrowing your home and you need more space. If you love your neighborhood and don't want to move, it's time to plan for an addition to your home. Increasing the square footage of your home can be a sound decision, but it is also a major investment. Check out our expert advice that will guide you through the planning process for your home addition. 

How To Plan For A Home Addition

Watch our video "How To Plan For A Home Addition"

1. Determine Your Goals

Whether you intend to create a small bump-out in one room or build a large addition to your home, proper planning will ensure a better outcome for your project. Ask yourself some questions. What is the purpose of your home addition? In other words, what problems are you looking to solve by adding more space? How do you want the new space to function for your family? Once you have thought it all through, put your answers down on paper.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Establish Your Budget

2. Establish Your Budget And Secure Financing

Be realistic when establishing your budget. Often, a homeowner’s idea of what a project should cost is vastly different from what it actually will cost. Decide the amount you can afford for your home addition and be sure your budget includes a “cushion” in case some unexpected issues arise during construction.

Speak to several reputable homebuilders to determine whether your budget is reasonable for the size and scope of your project. Remember, cheaper is not always better. Factors such as integrity of construction, quality of craftsmanship, level of client service, and attention to detail all matter when considering what your project will actually cost you.

Make sure you fully understand how the homebuilders you interview set up their fee structures. Find out if they will assist with design and development of architectural plans, or if that will be outsourced at an additional cost. The next step is to secure financing, if you need it, so that you are fully prepared before moving forward.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Determine Your Goals

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3. Make A Comprehensive Wish List

Make a wish list of your “must-haves.” If your growing family needs another full bathroom, a larger family room, or a bigger kitchen, then those items should be non-negotiable. The second part of your list should be the “would-be- nice-to-haves.” For example, you may want imported tile in your new bathroom or kitchen, but less expensive tile could work just as well if you will exceed the budgetary parameters that you set.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Wish List

4. Select A Homebuilder

Begin by researching homebuilders online: take a look at their websites to see their project photos, awards, and client reviews. Ask your friends and work colleagues who have remodeled their homes for referrals. For more tips, read our article, "8 Steps To Finding The Right Homebuilder For You."

Once you've narrowed down your choices, set up some interviews. Share your comprehensive "wish list" with the homebuilders you interview so they understand your priorities. Select the homebuilder who best suits your needs and has a reputation for providing quality craftsmanship, staying within an agreed upon budget, and completing projects on time. 

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Select A Homebuilder

5. Decide What Is Achievable And Within Your Budget

Discuss the details of your project with your homebuilder. If you want to add a primary bedroom suite to the second floor of your home, how will that impact the first floor? Does designing a new gourmet kitchen mean extending your home to the front, rear, or side? Can you enclose your existing rear porch and turn it into a spacious family room? Together, determine if the goals you have for your home addition can be achieved, while staying within your set budget.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Achievable and Within Your Budget

6. Understand What Zoning And Other Regulations Will Allow


Be aware that every jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations that could greatly impact the home addition that you desire. Also, know that the time it takes for the permitting process varies by jurisdiction and this could affect your overall timeline.

Your homebuilder should understand and convey to you how local regulations may impact your project. For instance, if a tree in the middle of your backyard cannot be removed per a specific regulation, that may affect the size of the addition you are planning. In some cases, your homebuilder may need to consult with engineers or other specialists to get clarification and further information. In the end, your homebuilder will be responsible for coordinating and securing all required permits and approvals. Don’t forget to research your homeowner association regulations regarding remodeling, if applicable, and review them with your homebuilder.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Zoning and Regulations

7. Consider Future Resale

Certain types of additions, like large primary bedroom suites and expanded kitchens, usually offer a higher return on investment than others. If you are planning to stay in your home for years, then profitability may not be as important a consideration as your family’s comfort and quality of life. However, if you won’t be staying in your home for a long time, consult with a realtor to see if the addition you are planning for will be appealing to future buyers. It’s also prudent to do some research to make sure you are not over-improving for your neighborhood, which may make resale difficult in the future.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Future Resale

8. Begin The Design Phase Of Your Project

During this phase of your project, plan on working closely with your architect and homebuilder to design your home addition. The new part of your home should seamlessly blend with the rest of your home in terms of style and flow. Your homebuilder should encourage a collaborative process so that the experience is pleasant and productive.

At this point, you will select all finishes and materials for your project to ensure that you are staying within the parameters of your budget. After your selections are finalized, your homebuilder will provide you with architectural plans, a comprehensive set of specifications, an estimated price, and a construction timeline. Carefully review and then approve all Design and Specifications phase details that were provided to be sure that it all meets your expectations.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Design Phase

9. Deal With The Logistics

Discuss the logistics of construction with your homebuilder. Will your family need to move out of your home, or can you live in the areas that are not under construction? Either way, you will need to pack and remove all the items in the rooms adjacent to the construction zone. If you are staying in your home during construction and you are enlarging your kitchen, that will mean not having a useable kitchen for an extended period of time. It will be inconvenient, but with proper planning your household does not have to be in complete chaos. To learn how to prepare for a kitchen remodel or expansion, click here.

Establish communication channels with your homebuilder (email, text, phone) and meet with the on-site project manager. Set the times when the crew will start and stop work each day so there are no unpleasant surprises. Ask how the crew will protect the rest of your home from dust and debris. Will you be expected to allow the crew to use your bathroom facilities, or will there be a port-a-potty outside? Will the crew tidy-up the construction area at the end of each workday? If you have pets, consider their safety while workers are coming in and out of your home all day long, and let the project manager know of your plans.

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Deal With The Logistics

10. Enter The Construction Phase Of Your Project

Before construction begins, your homebuilder will order all necessary materials and secure all required permits. Your assigned project manager should be updating you regularly as construction progresses and you should receive timely responses to your questions and comments. When construction is complete, your homebuilder will work with local officials to obtain the final inspections. A walk-through should be scheduled with you to identify any tasks that still need to be addressed. Then it’s time to enjoy the newly expanded space in your home!

How To Plan For A Home Addition - Construction Phase

At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury renovations and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.

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Topics: Home Remodeling

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